How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship. 9 Things that Really Work.
Ok, so you have gotten out of your toxic relationship. Well done! I am sure that it’s the hardest thing that you have ever had to do. You should be proud of yourself.
And now, here you are, probably a shell of who you used to be, feeling lonely, questioning your decision, feeling fearful of the future, unsure of next steps and afraid that you will never love or be loved again.
Let me help!
Every day, women heal from a toxic relationship and all of them felt just the way you do right now at one point. But they worked through those feelings and came out the other side, stronger than they were before, ready to finally live the life they have always wanted to live!
This can be you!
Let me share with you how to heal from a toxic relationship by sharing the nine steps that you must take to do so.
#1 – Set boundaries for yourself.
The first step in healing from a toxic relationship is to set boundaries for yourself.
Now that you gotten out, you are probably wondering what is next. If you don’t know what is next then you might get overwhelmed and go back to your ex.
Examples of boundaries might be:
- Not interacting with your ex should they reach out.
- No looking for closure.
- If you do talk, not rehashing the same old stuff over and over.
- Not letting your ex manipulate you like the old days.
- Meeting them only in a public place.
If you must interact with your ex because of kids or other considerations, boundaries might include:
- Not rehashing old wounds.
- Keeping contact business-like.
- Minimizing physical contact
Setting boundaries for yourself will help you clearly see what kind of things you need to get you started down the path to healing.
#2 – Keep a list.
I find this an essential part of recovering from a toxic relationship – keeping a list of all the reasons that you had to get out of the relationship.
The brain is an amazing thing – it messes with us in ways that are beyond comprehension. One would think that our brain would support us in our efforts to get out of a situation that is bad for us, but no. What the brain does instead is forget all of the reasons why something isn’t good for us and tempts us with the things that were good.
I remember when I had finally escaped from a relationship that wasn’t good for me, my brain was messing with me. It was focusing on all that was good in the relationship and how good things might be if things changed. It was making me miss my guy and vulnerable to his reaching out.
One day I stumbled upon a list that I had made a few months back, one that detailed the things that he did to me that hurt me. There were things on that list that I had totally forgotten about.
I was so glad that I found that list because it reminded me of why I left. I kept that list by my computer, and added to it when I thought of something, as a reminder of why I suffered and why I shouldn’t go back!
#3 – Stick to “no contact.”
Bar none, this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to do when you are healing from a toxic relationship. Go no contact with your ex.
This means blocking them on your phone and any apps that you share, avoiding seeing them when you are out in the world, not asking your friends and family how he is doing, whatever it takes to make sure that he can’t reach out to you.
Why is this so important? For two reasons. The first is that, when we get out of any relationship, being in touch with someone is how we get sucked back in. Hearing our ex’s voice, listening to their justifications and them telling you that things will change, all make us vulnerable to letting someone back in.
The second is that being in contact with someone will stop your healing in it’s tracks.
If you go a month without talking to your ex and you are starting to feel better, having contact with them will only set you back. Many people make this mistake – they feel like they are strong this time around and so they reach out or take a call from their ex and then they go right back to where they were a month ago – in pain.
So, for the sake of your healing and your potential happiness, go ‘no contact’ with your ex. It’s the key to healing from a toxic relationship.
#4 – Keep away from social media.
Part two of the no contact rule is to stay away from social media.
This means blocking, unfriending or unfollowing them any and everywhere and doing so right away.
Why? Because you stalking your ex, keeping tabs on where they are is not good for your healing. Even worse, if something comes across your feed that you aren’t expecting, it will cause you a tremendous amount of pain and that will set you back.
For some reason, this, and blocking someone, is the thing that my clients resist most, even more than seeing their ex in person. The addiction that we all have to social media, the fear of missing out, compels us to keep connected no matter what the cost.
Unfortunately, it is just this addiction that will hold us back from healing.
So did deep, find the strength to let them go on social media and accelerate your healing in a big way!
#5 – Take care of yourself.
Are you reading this article from your couch? Are you still in your pjs, having coffee and ice cream for breakfast? Have you not showered or left the house in days, too despondent to do so?
I get this. I have been there. But it is essential that you only do this for a short while longer and then you get off the couch and start taking care of yourself.
An important part of healing is eating well, getting exercise, getting enough sleep, spending time with people who love you, focusing on things that make happy and not using brain bandwith on the past.
You don’t have to do these things all at once but, to heal, taking care of yourself is essential in the healing process.
After all, recovering from a toxic relationship will take some effort, effort that will be hard to make if you don’t have the strength to do so.
So, spend a few more days on the couch, if you need to, and then get up, shower and get yourself healthy again!
#6 – Do something new.
When we get into relationships, both good and bad, we tend to develop habits. In my marriage, we have a cocktail every night then dinner in front of the TV, bedtime at 10. We have pad thai on Fridays and go to the farmers market on Saturdays. We have a routine that works for us.
When we break up with someone, that routine is tossed to the side and the emptiness that is left can be incredibly hard to navigate. But you can do it.
If Thursday night was always about movies for you and your ex, make sure that you are out with your friends that night. Saturday mornings can be about getting out and going for a good long hike. Perhaps you make something that you and your ex never ate for dinner and watch it in front of a movie that he would never watch.
On a bigger scale, do something that you have always wanted to do but have not been able to do it. Travel somewhere exotic. Take up a new hobby. Make new friends. Something that will shift up your energy in a big way. Something that will help you wake up and see that life can be good. Something that will make you feel good about yourself.
Don’t spend your time wallowing in the past. The future is bright – embrace it!
#7 – Surround yourself with loved ones.
When we are in toxic relationships, our relationships with people who love us can fall to the side.
Perhaps your ex used to isolate you from them. Perhaps they didn’t want to spend time with you because the tension was unbearable. Perhaps you pushed them all away when they tried to make you see that your relationship was toxic.
Whatever the reason, if there was ever a time for you to embrace your friends and family, this is it. Surrounding yourself with people who love you is just the medicine that will help you heal.
I know that you might be worried that they won’t want to spend time with you because you have let them down but I can promise you they won’t. All they want for you is for you to be happy and they will support you going through this difficult time to ensure that you are.
So, who can you reach out to right now who loves you and supports you and makes you laugh? You can do it!
#8 – Take it one day at a time.
One of our worst habits is that we spend too much time in the past and WAY too much time in the distant future.
I know that, for many of my clients, the number one thing that sabotages their healing is looking too far ahead.
Instead of thinking about what they need to do today to get themselves through what they are dealing with, they look ahead to the future.
They can’t imagine themselves ever being happy. They can’t see how they will find love again. They believe that they will only ever feel the pain that they are feeling right now.
And, this focus on the future only sets their recovering from a toxic relationship back. They might even be tempted to reach out to their ex in the hopes that, this time, they will get the life and the love they want.
So, try to take it one day at a time. It might be hard but it will help!
#9 – Get help.
We all want to be strong, to take care of ourselves during times of stress and to not have to rely on anyone, particularly a professional, to help them. After all, it’s the American way – to tough it out and do things on our own.
I get that but, I believe that, sometimes, we all need help getting through a tough time.
If you have been trying hard to get over your toxic relationship but find that you aren’t making the progress that you need to make, reach out to a professional to help you.
As a life coach, I have worked with hundreds of people who have gotten out of toxic relationships and who have successfully healed from them and moved on to find a better life.
I know that it might make you feel weak, but I can promise you that you will not be. You will be strong enough to reach out to someone who can help you with your healing, which can be rare.
And, know that, no life coach or therapist will ever judge you for what you have been through. We have all been there at some point – and we are all here to tell the story of how we got through it.
So, if you are finding that you are struggling to get through the pain of your break up, reach out to someone, like me, to help!
Knowing how to heal from a toxic relationship is not something that we all know intuitively.
We have never done something like this before and trying to figure out next steps can feel daunting.
But you can do this! You can get past the pain of this relationship and find the love and the life that you want.
Just follow the nine steps above and you will see. I promise!